Vice President of the RSPCA, Peter Egan, joins Ricky Gervais in calling for the Government to release registered animal charities from a policy which forbids them to end cruel animal experiments.
MPs gather today Monday 25th October, in Westminster Hall on , to debate a petition which cites the 90% fail rate of animal-tested drugs, but only calls for these medically failed and horrific experiments on dogs, and other animals, to be merely ‘phased out’.
Ricky Gervais and Peter Egan are supporting protestors who will gather outside Westminster Hall, from 3-7pm, to call for the science hearing outlined by Parliament EDM 175 – to ban animal experiments quickly.
Ricky Gervais says: “I’m shocked to hear that Priti Patel is only planning a gradual “phasing out” of horrific experiments on dogs, and other animals, which could take many decades. Such experiments are now proven to entirely fail the search for human treatments and cures, a position reported by the British Medical Journal, the FDA and the US-based National Cancer Institute. We need an immediate ban on this shocking animal cruelty, which is clearly holding back medical progress too. That’s why I support the rigorous public science hearing, as called for by Parliament EDM 175. This can help create a legal ruling to stop the funding of the outdated practice of animal experiments, and quickly redirect funding towards human-based methods, which have a proven track record of success. Please join my campaign with rescued laboratory dog Scarlett Beagle: help us accelerate the arrival of this fair science hearing, to end cruel animal experiments, once, and for all.”
84 cross-party MPs have signed EDM 175, calling for the Government to mandate a rigorous public scientific hearing, on claims that results from animal experiments can predict human responses, in medical research and safety testing.
The EDM’s science hearing is unique because it will be judged by a panel of independent experts from the relevant science fields – including evolutionary biology, complexity science, chaos theory, clinical research, drug development, basic research and philosophy of science.
Never before has such an indepdently judged science hearing been mandated by the Government; previous inquiries into animal testing have been overseen by many with a clear vested interest in animal experiments.
Registered charities are in chains
The National Anti-Vivisection Society is the oldest anti-vivisection society in the world, but it is not a registered charity because charity status would prevent it from ending animal experiments.
Says the NAVS: ‘The NAVS is not a registered UK charity because the law does not allow for charities to campaign to end animal experiments. Founded in 1895, the NAVS was a charity until 1947, when the Inland Revenue challenged charitable status for groups opposing animal experiments and the narrow terms of charity status worked against us at that time. Since then, charity law has been amended to include activities which would fall naturally within a charity´s core work, but would still not allow the NAVS to campaign to change the law to end animal research.
NAVS continues: ‘In order to take up charitable status, the NAVS would be obliged to give up our work to change the law on animal experiments, including drafting legislation, working with government departments and educating legislators around the world, in addition to our public education work. In our view, this work is the most important thing we can do to achieve lasting protection for animals and so our members have made the decision that the financial benefits of charitable status must be sacrificed, in order to do what is right and necessary for animals.’
In 1950, a High Court precedent ruling, by senior judge Harold Danckwerts, ruled that NAVS is not eligible for charity status because “suppression of vivisection is contrary to the benefit of the community and therefore not a charitable purpose in law” – please see ‘Resources’ at the close.
In 1950, one could be forgiven for stating that animal experiments save human lives. Not today. Medical doctor Ray Greek says: “recent developments in evolutionary and developmental biology, genetics, gene regulation, gene expression and gene networks gained in large part as a result of the Human Genome Project, in addition to advances in understanding complex systems, have significantly increased our understanding of why animals have no predictive value for human response to drugs, or the pathology of human diseases.”
Peter Egan says: “As Vice-President of the RSPCA, I am shocked to learn that this, and other registered animal charities, are forbidden to support the science hearing called for by EDM 175, and prevented by law from ending cruel animal experiments. The petition being debated by MPs, on Monday 25th October, cites the 90% fail rate for animal tested drugs, but merely calls for this catastrophic human medical failure to be gradually ‘phased out’. This doesn’t make any sense. Even though today’s debated petition cites the 90% fail rate of animal tested drugs, it describes human-based research as an ‘alternative’ to animal tests. This is clearly nonsense – and is typical of registered charities confined to an outdated policy called the 3Rs, established in 1959 for ‘humane experimental technique on animals’. Animal tests have a 90% fail rate – as the petition correctly states – whereas human-based research, such as gene-based medicine, comes with a fantastic track record of success. Human-based research is the opposite of animal experiments, these are not ‘alternatives’ for each other. It is time for the Government to allow registered charities to campaign with up-to-date medical knowledge so they can support the science hearing called for by EDM 175, make sense in their public petition statements, and ban the now proven practice of animal experiments quickly.”
Dr. Lisa Cameron MPsays: “I’m delighted to be the primary sponsor for Parliamentary EDM 175, calling for a fair and rigorous public scientific hearing on animal experiments. Dogs are man’s best friend, yet thousands of Beagles are bred every year in the UK, for painful toxicity experiments that are today widely reported to be failing the search for human treatments and cures. Please join me in asking the Government to mandate this vital science hearing: ask your MP to sign EDM 175 to stop the funding of a failed practice and accelerate funding for human-based research, such as body on a chip and gene-based medicine, which comes with a track record of success.”
Dr. Fiona Godlee, Editor in Chief of the British Medical Journal quotes a report, in her Editor’s Choice: “If research conducted on animals continues to be unable to reasonably predict what can be expected in humans, the public’s continuing endorsement of preclinical animal research seems misplaced”. 
Award winning oncologist Dr. Azra Raza says in her tweet: “Why are we continuing to invest 100s of millions of dollars into animal studies, with the delusion that they will provide clinical guidance for humans? Why are we, the public, not demanding more accountability? Who is benefitting?”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Parliament EDM 175 is tabled by Dr. Lisa Cameron MP and cites the medical failure of experiments on dogs – and other animals – as reported by experts publishing in the British Medical Journal;  at the FDA – which states that nine out of ten new human medicines fail to pass clinical trials, because animals cannot predict human responses –  and at the US-based National Cancer Institute, which says we have lost cures for cancer because studies in rodents have been believed.  Scientists working in the pharmaceutical industry also openly acknowledge the failure of animal experiments in their drug development process, and write about this often, in the peer reviewed scientific literature. 
The Daily Mirror published two exclusives in June and September, showing – for the first time ever – harrowing footage of the factory farming of laboratory puppies in the UK, bred by MBR Acres, Cambridgeshire. The Mirror exclusives revealed shocking footage showing what happens to these dogs when they arrive at Labcorp testing laboratory, Harrogate.
MBR Acres breeds between 1,600 and 2,000 dogs annually; from 16 weeks old their puppies are sold to laboratories across the UK. Experiments on these dogs typically involve being force-fed chemicals every day, for up to 90 days, with no pain relief or anaesthetic. This force-feeding procedure is classified as ‘mild suffering’ by the Home Office animal experiment licensing system.
Home Secretary Priti Patel was reported to be “shocked” by the Daily Mirror exclusives, but Priti Patel is still only calling for such experiments to be gradually ‘phased out’.
The Westminster Hall debate comes as the Government’s forthcoming Animal Sentience Bill enshrines in law the ability of animals to experience joy, and feel suffering and pain. Finn’s Law, named after hero police dog Finn, means that cruelty to any animal can result in an up-to five year prison sentence.
Dogs are mainly used to measure the toxicity of new human medicines, but these tests are today widely reported to fail as predictive models of human patients.
FOR ENQUIRES CONTACT: the science-based campaign, For Life On Earth (FLOE) Mobile 07751 873 389 Twitter @ScarlettBeagle
1.BMJ 2014;348:g3719 available here
2. FDA Issues Advice to Make Earliest Stages Of Clinical Drug Development More Efficient. FDA, June 2006
3. Gura T: Cancer Models: Systems for identifying new drugs are often faulty. Science. 1997, 278 (5340): 1041-1042.
4. Lumley CE, Walker S Lancaster, Quay, editors, 1990, ‘Clinical Toxicity – Could it have been predicted? Post-marketing experience’, 57–67; Heywood R. Animal Toxicity Studies: Their Relevance for Man.
Misleading Parliament Petition 590216 .
Peter Egan’s Parliament Petition: ‘Change the law to include laboratory animals in the Animal Welfare Act’ – and stop their unnecessary suffering.
Ricky Gervais and Peter Egan’s campaign with rescued laboratory dog Scarlett Beagle:
Quotes against animal testing by scientists working in the pharmaceutical industry
The science-based campaign For Life On Earth (FLOE) .